For the second time in its long history, Star Trek is represented by reruns and a new animated show. The last time that happened, there’d only been one series, and the limited animated incarnation used original cast voices and attempted to stay true to the spirit of its inspiration.
This time, they’re going for cheap laughs, in a cartoon that tries to take a humorous, frequently raunchy look at the Federation, as seen from the perspective of its less-heroic members.
Will it fly?
Title: “Second Contact”
Cast and Crew
Director: Barry J. Kelly
Writers: Mike McMahan, Garrick Bernard
Based on Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry.
Tawny Newsome as Ensign Mariner
Jack Quaid as Ensign Boimler
Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi
Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford
Dawnn Lewis as Captain Freeman
Jerry O’Connell as Commander Ransom
Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs
Gillian Vigman as Dr. T’Ana
Jessica McKenna as Ensign Barnes
Phil LaMarr as Admiral
Ben Rodgers as Lieutenant Commander Stevens
Paul Scheer as Lieutenant Commander Andy Billups
The shenanigans of some junior officers unfold against the drama of a starship which has the unglamorous mission of handling “second contact.” These include the rebellious daughter of Starfleet brass, a first date ruined by a zombie virus, and an awkward encounter with some pre-warp aliens.
The story is disjointed, but it does a fair job of introducing the relationship dynamics of a few of the major characters, while giving us enough of the others to show their potential for future episodes. The interesting thing about this Trek comedy is, the more it veers towards its source, the NextGen episode of the same title, the more potentially interesting it becomes.
The writers, it must also be said, know franchise history.
We laughed a few times but, in the end, the show’s just not particularly funny. This may be a liability in a comedy.
Originality: 1/6 Basically, we’re watching an animated version of the jokes that fen tell while hanging around a Con Suite, set up in sitcom format, with raunchy moments to let us know it’s not for young children.
Animation: 5/6 It’s good, but not great, and suffers somewhat from the awkward blend of techniques so common to contemporary animated works. The pilot earns a bonus for background detail.
Voice Acting: 5/6 The show features a solid voice-cast.
Emotional Response: 3/6
Overall: 3/6 The show may improve– NextGen certainly did. At present, it’s neither serious enough to be “real” Trek nor irreverent and crazy enough to be consistently funny. A functional balance may be possible, but the pilot hasn’t found it.
In total, “Second Contact” receives 26/42